ICRC appoints top Swiss diplomat as next president

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The international Red Cross on Wednesday appointed a top Swiss foreign service official Peter Maurer as its next president, to succeed the incumbent Jakob Kellenberger.

Kellenberger, who has been ICRC president since 2000, has "expressed the wish to retire at the end of his third term as head of the organisation," said the International Committee of the Red Cross in a statement.

"Under Mr Kellenberger's presidency, the ICRC expanded its operations and broadened their scope to enhance the humanitarian services it provides for victims of armed conflict and other violence," said the ICRC.

"In addition, it significantly internationalized and diversified its staff, both at headquarters and in the field, to be able to provide a swifter, more professional, and more appropriate humanitarian response in complex emergencies," it added.

Maurer will assume his duties on July 1, 2012.

Currently Switzerland's state secretary for foreign affairs, Maurer joined the diplomatic service in 1987 and was appointed ambassador to the UN in New York in 2004.

© 2011 AFP

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